Pre season testing is done for another year and this year’s Eight days of testing at Barcelona have been very interesting.
The tests have gave us an insight of what to expect in the first race of the season at Albert Park.
Sadly it looks like McLaren will almost likely be at the back of the the grid in Melbourne, that is even if they make it out of 107% or even set a laptime in qualifying. We definitely know it’s going to be a struggle for the team as testing has been a disaster for them, the Honda engine is simply not reliable and being made worse by vibrations in the chassis, the car also looks a handful when it is out on track (being on track is rare for McLaren).
Despite all of Honda’s struggle’s, Renault appear to be struggling with the reliability of their Power Unit, the main problem being the ERS which they hope can be sorted before Melbourne. All the Renault powered team’s did not get the amount of laps they wanted too, Red Bull and Toro Rosso having the most problems, the Red Bull looks like a very tidy car and definitely looks like it’s going to be in contention this season, the Toro Rosso out on track looks like a well planted car and it should considering it shares a lot of features with the Mercedes. Renault’s new car is very much improved over last year’s car but still looks like a mid field runner at best.
The Renault and Honda powered runners completed the fewest laps across the eight days of testing, with the Mercedes and Ferrari powered cars leading the field in terms of milage and outright reliability.
Sauber have looked solid during the test’s and the C36 looks a genuine improvement over its predecessor in terms of overall pace but the problem they will have this year is the 2016 Ferrari power unit, as the year will go on and other team’s get upgraded engines the team will be stuck with an old and outdated one, but one thing is for sure and that Sauber at the moment have a better engine than McLaren.
Williams had a shakey first week, Canadian rookie Lance Stroll crashing the car three times, the second week was much better for the team with Felipe Massa completing 168 laps on the first day of the second test, Stroll had a much better week 2 and he also got a lot of milage in the FW40. The FW40 has shown solid pace and reliability and will be at the sharp end of the points in Melbourne.
The two pacesetters of the tests were reigning champions Mercedes, they got the most milage in the test’s and the car looks planted through the corners, one thing is that the W08 seems to struggle with tyre wear towards the end of a long run.
Ferrari were the surprise of the test’s, both Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen setting scorching laps in the SF70-H and ended pre season testing one and two. Raikkonen was the only driver to dip into the 1m 18s.
But testing is not always a clear indicator of what to expect as Mercedes are clearly sandbagging and Ferrari also appear to be, testing has shown us how brilliant these new cars are though and expect lap record times at nearly every track this year.